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2Lt Bruno Matika

2Lt Bruno Matika

Birth
Clifford, Williamson County, Illinois, USA
Death 2 Jul 1944 (aged 27)
Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise, Departement du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
Burial Colleville-sur-Mer, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France
Memorial ID 56647368 · View Source
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Second Lieutenant Bruno Matika, Army serial number O-758713, was born at Clifford, Blairsville Township, Williamson County, Illinois on September 5, 1916. He was one of at least eight children of George Matika (1876 – 1933) and Mary (Bielak) Matika (15 Mar 1880 – 20 Oct 1951), who were born in Poland. His parents married about 1899. His father immigrated to America about 1900, and his mother about 1902. His father was a coal miner. In 1920 the family lived at Clifford in Blairsville Township, Williamson County, Illinois. Clifford was located along Hurricane Creek just north of Colpville in Blairsville Township, and was the site of Consolidated #8 Mine of the Big Muddy Coal & Iron Company. In 1930 the family home was at 312 East 6th Street, West Frankfort, Franklin County, Illinois.

His father died in 1933, and because of the Depression there were few jobs. The family moved to California about 1938, where Bruno and many of his brothers found work. In 1940 the family home was at 3846 South Hill Street, Los Angeles, California. He completed grammar school and worked as a sheet metal worker in a Douglas Aircraft factory, possibly at Santa Monica, California. He was single, without dependents, when he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps at Los Angeles, California on August 31, 1942.

He completed Army Air Forces pilot training in Class 43-J at Marfa Army Air Field, Marfa, Texas, and received his wings and commission on November 3, 1943. He was then assigned as copilot on the heavy bomber crew of Lt James A. Logan. By December 1943 the Logan crew began B-24 crew training at Davis-Monthan Field in Tucson, Arizona. In January 1944 the crew was assigned to the 836th Bomb Squadron of the 487th Bomb Group at Alamogordo Army Air Base, New Mexico. There they completed B-24 crew training, and deployed with the Group to England in March 1944. The Logan crew flew B-24H 41-29520 overseas via the southern Atlantic ferry route—a journey of about 10,000 miles—and arrived in England by mid-April 1944. The 487th Bomb Group was based at Army Air Forces Station 137 near Lavenham, Suffolk, England, and was part of the 8th U.S. Army Air Force in Europe. There is a photo of the Logan crew, probably taken at Herington, Kansas during the deployment to England, that is posted on the 487th Bomb Group website. Here is the roster of the Logan crew on July 2, 1944:

B-24H 42-52609 – 836th Bomb Squadron
Logan, James A – 2/Lt – Pilot – KIA
• Matika, Bruno – 2/Lt – Copilot – KIA
Doran, Harry LeRoy – 2/Lt – Navigator – POW
• Greer, George Hubert – T/Sgt – Engineer – POW
Johnson, William T – S/Sgt – Radio Operator – KIA
Pellizzer, Louis – S/Sgt – Nose Turret Gunner – KIA
Wilson, Max W – S/Sgt – Upper Turret Gunner – KIA
Buck, Herman W – S/Sgt – Ball Turret Gunner – KIA
• Ross, John Finlay – S/Sgt – Tail Turret Gunner – POW

On July 2, 1944 the 487th Bomb Group dispatched two squadrons of B-24s to bomb the German V-weapon site near Belloy-sur-Somme, France. The Logan crew flew B-24H 42-52609 on this mission. On the return route, Lt Matika and five of his crewmates were killed in action when their aircraft was shot down by flak in the area of Bethune-St. Pol, France. After the aircraft was hit and on fire, Lt Logan pulled up to avoid colliding with another aircraft in the formation. The aircraft then went down in flames and crashed 3.5 kilometers west of Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise, and 2 kilometers east of Siracourt. Three men survived and became prisoners of war.

Lt Matika was buried initially at Evreux, France. After the war his remains were permanently reinterred at Normandy American Cemetery in Plot D, Row 8, Grave 33. There is another photo of his grave posted on the 487th Bomb Group website.

He was awarded the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Purple Heart.

Sources:
1. 487th Bomb Group Association

2. 1920 US Census; Illinois; Williamson County; Blairsville Township. Malika, George [sic]. 19 Jan 1920 (Geroge Matika, his father)

3. 1930 US Census; Illinois; Franklin County; West Frankfort; 312 East 6th Street; Matika, George. 16 Apr 1930 (his father)

4. 1940 US Census; California; Los Angeles County; Los Angeles; 3846 South Hill Street. Matika, Mary. 11 Apr 1940 (his mother)

5. American Battle Monuments Commission

6. California, County Marriages, 1850–1952:
  • 1946 marriage of his brother Frank Matika (15 Oct 1919 – 26 Oct 1991) and Vera Scarcelli (2 Nov 1919 – 21 Oct 1997)
  • 1947 marriage of his brother Julian Matika and Ruth Beatrice Stark

7. California Military Museum. California and the Second World War: Los Angeles Metropolitan Area during World War II

8. California Death Records, 1940–1997

9. de Jong, Ivo. The History of the 487th Bomb Group (H). Paducah KY: Turner Publishing, Oct 2004

10. Enlistment Record of Bruno Matika

11. Genealogy Trails. Blairsville Township, Illinois

12. Historic Map Works. Illinois, Williamson County, 1908

13. HQ, 359th Combat Crew Training School, Alamogordo Army Air Base, New Mexico. Special Orders Number 71. 11 Mar 1944 (487th Bomb Group flight echelon order to proceed from Alamogordo, New Mexico to Herington, Kansas during the deployment to England)

14. HQ, Davis-Monthan Field, Tucson, Arizona. Special Orders Number 1. 1 Jan 1944 (transfer of fifty heavy bomber combat crews, less navigators, from Davis-Monthan Field, Tucson, Arizona, to the 487th Bomb Group at Alamogordo Army Air Base, New Mexico)

15. Lamparski, Lynne. Personal correspondence about Matika family history. Oct 2016 (a great niece)

16. U.S. Army Air Forces Missing Air Crew Report 6770

17. U.S. War Department. World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel. Washington, D.C., June 1946

Research by:
Paul Webber
Secretary, 487th Bomb Group Association
Find A Grave member ID 47577572


Inscription

BRUNO MATIKA
2 LT   836 BOMB SQ   487 BOMB GP (H)
CALIFORNIA   JULY 2 1944

Gravesite Details Entered the service from California.

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  • Maintained by: Paul Webber
  • Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
  • Added: 8 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 56647368
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for 2Lt Bruno Matika (5 Sep 1916–2 Jul 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56647368, citing Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, Colleville-sur-Mer, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France ; Maintained by Paul Webber (contributor 47577572) .